Google Docs Lesson Plans: Missing in Action?
If you are embracing all that is modern in the classroom, you are probably using Google Docs in some capacity. But what about your students? Increasingly, state and local standards for computer applications and business technology are starting to include student mastery of Google Docs and other Google Applications. When talking with teachers, we have heard there is a significant lag in the materials that are available to teach it. It seems the question on everyone's mind is: Where can I find Google Docs lesson plans?
Because we know this is a struggle for teachers across the United States, I've taken some time to round up lessons and activities to help you teach Google Docs in the classroom. But before we get into the 'what,' it's important to understand why teaching the Google Applications Suite is necessary.
Why do teachers need Google Docs lesson plans and activities?
Not sure why you should start teaching Google Docs and the other Google Apps in your computer classes? Just ask teachers in the state of South Carolina why they want Google Docs lesson plans! They have 2 courses dedicated to Google Applications, but right now there aren't many options available in terms of curriculum and instructional resources.
So why are schools starting to require teachers to cover Google Applications? And why is it such a struggle to find curriculum to teach those courses? It's been out there in some format since around 2007... Why is it suddenly in such demand?
In the article "Why Schools Are Turning to Google Apps," Greg Ferenstein says:
"The case for Google Apps in education is compelling in many ways. We interviewed the architects of this plan, as well as others who use Google in the classroom, and we've highlighted the three major benefits: 1) It saves schools money; 2) It boosts academic performance and motivation, and; 3) It prepares students for digital communication in the real world."
The combination of these three points, and the fact that Google is constantly updating the applications is HUGE and schools are catching on.
And when I say catching on, I mean that fewer schools are including traditional Microsoft Office applications use and training in their schools. As early as 2012, I had a health science teacher contact me in stunned horror after finding that her school would not be providing devices loaded with Microsoft Office for the coming school year. But time has passed, and she and her students have survived the transition to Google Apps.
Still not convinced? Here's a great video about teachers and students using Google Docs in the classroom:
Why do students need to learn about Google Docs?
Materials designed to teach computer applications and business technology have up to this point focused all but exclusively on the Microsoft Office applications. Which makes sense, since there are fantastic certifications that students can work towards in Microsoft Office. The same doesn't hold true for Google Docs. However, if we are focused on making sure our students are prepared for their futures, it seems an oversight to leave out Google Docs lesson plans.
If students want to be competitive in the job market, it certainly can't hurt to have some experience using Google Applications. The Community for Information Technology Leaders' CIO Update, says: "Google now claims over two million businesses using Docs with “thousands more” signing up daily."
That article goes on to give 10 reasons why businesses are embracing Google Docs:
- It’s free
- It’s easy
- It does collaboration better
- You don’t need the features Google Docs lacks
- Free up IT to do higher-value work
- What me worry about security?
- Google Docs are polished tools
- Any device, anywhere
- Free off site back-up
- Google will integrate telephony into Docs
Want to see a sampling of the types of businesses that are using Google Docs and other Google Apps? Take a look here.
While the majority of workplaces still cling to Microsoft Office applications, there is a significant trend towards cloud-based applications like Google Applications and Office 365.
Where to find Google Doc lesson plans:
Clearly the use of Google Applications is on the rise. Therefore, students need to have an understanding of and some experience with it. But the problem remains that there are still few places to find Google Docs lesson plans and activities. I did my best to find ideas and places for you to start.
In doing my research, I found many sites dedicated to ideas for how teachers can implement Google Docs into their classrooms, but I had a harder time finding good information when searching "How to teach students Google Docs." While there aren't many, here are a few things I found that are certainly worth a look:
Effingham County Middle School Media Center
This middle school page from Georgia has a fabulous list of links to both tutorials that you can use to teach Google Docs and a slew of activities that use Google Docs. Check it out: Google Docs Activities, Ideas, and Lesson Plans
Ask a Tech Teacher
This website was created by tech ed teachers to share tips, advice, lesson plans, and other things to help other teachers succeed with technology in the classroom. Some of the free lesson plans on the website can be used to teach Google Docs: Free Lesson Plans from Ask a Tech Teacher
Business&ITCenter21 eLearning Curriculum
Another place to find Google Docs curriculum is within Business&ITCenter21. In 2016, we released new modules for teaching Google Applications because we saw the struggle of teachers like you:
- Google Docs Fundamentals
- Google Sheets Fundamentals
- Google Slides Fundamentals
- Google Collaboration Fundamentals
These lessons and activities teach your students the basics of the Google Applications by providing hands-on, project based lessons.
Where to go from here with teaching Google Apps:
As you start to add Google Applications lessons to your curriculum, you may encounter a few challenges. This post will help you face them head on: How To Overcome 4 Big Challenges When Creating Google Lesson Plans
[Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.]
About Sarah Layton
Sarah has been with AES since 1998, first serving as a curriculum developer, and now as a customer support analyst and content creator. She is committed to helping instructors gain experience and confidence using our solutions and to providing excellent customer care. Sarah has a bachelor’s of arts degree in English and technical writing from the University of Delaware. In her previous professional life, she was a writer, editor, and publisher in both the hospitality and advertising industries. She lives in Lititz, Pa., with her husband, two children, and the best old dog ever, enjoying every moment of the chaos they all create.